You hear these words in yoga classes, but you're not really sure what it means...
Asana: Pronounced "AHS-AN-A". Sanskrit word of pose! All names of poses in Sanskrit end in "-asana".
Namaste: This is a form of greeting, or gesture of respect. Teachers and yogis may greet one another this way, similar to your, "Hello, how are you?" Its generally said at the end of class. As the teacher closes the class, you may have your hands in prayer, or at heart center, with your head bowed down. Once the teacher says "Namaste", the class echoes it back.
Adjustment: The teacher will walk around and help you get into the asana a little deeper for a better stretch, help you get more relaxed, or adjust your stance to achieve proper alignment. It shouldn't hurt at all - and if it does, speak up! Some teachers will ask for permission before making adjustments, they can ask you to relax or exhale, and see if the pressure feels right for you. Adjustments are great in that you learn how your body feels in a given posture, when you're challenged a little bit more.
Mudra: These are hand gestures you hold during a pose or meditation. The most common one is when your hands are in prayer, also known as Anjali Mudra.
Pranayama: Literally means, restricting life force, or your breath. There are many different types of breathing techniques that focus on the relaxing, warming up, cooling, calming etc. A few examples are alternate nose breathing or breath of fire.
Ujayyi: This is a pranayama that is used in yoga practices. You inhale through the nose slowly and exhale through the nose (not through the mouth, as you would normally). This can cause a slight whispery sound in the throat each time you exhale - very similar to trying to fog up the windows on a cold winter day. This pranayama technique helps build heat in the body as you warm up so that you can practice more challenging asanas during the class. It helps you focus on the breath, by purposefully lengthening your breath cycle. And, you'll sweat! If practiced well, the heat will draw out the toxins in the body as you move in and out of the poses.
Did I miss any? Let me know!